Dogs of Ferndale: A data-driven look at the most popular names and breeds
(Kurt Metzger, 09/18/2022)
Ferndale, MI – Today we begin a regular feature on The Dogs of Oakland County. I submitted a FOIA to Animal Control/Oakland County Animal Shelter & Pet Adoption Center to obtain a list of licensed dogs in Oakland County, including dog name, dog breed, city, and zip code. That first attempt, earlier this year, produced a list that seemed oddly small — just over 29,000 records. Further discussion revealed that many dog owners had delayed renewing their licenses due to COVID lockdowns. We decided to revisit this FOIA request later in the summer after the county completed its “dog census.”
I now have a revised list that includes almost 54,000 records – an 83 percent increase over the previous list. The list excludes communities that administer their own licensing programs, including Berkley, Bloomfield Township, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Madison Heights, Oak Park, Rochester, Royal Oak, Southfield City, and Southfield Township (Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, and frankline).
Our first community of interest will be the City of Ferndale which has 1,374 licensed pooches.
While there are some interesting variations (and spellings) in breed names, I’ve done my best to bring some consistency to the records. Figure 1 shows the top 10 ‘races’ (mixed breeds are a big problem) living in Ferndale.
It’s no surprise, judging by national rankings, that the Labrador Retriever is the No. 1 breed, doubling its closest rival, the Golden Retriever. I must note that there was an intruder between the two retrievers and that was the mixed breed.
Personal experience has shown me that there are mixed breeds that are ‘designed’ and commonly named, like the Cockapoo (of which there are 3) and then those that arise from run-of-the-mill meetings ‘in the neighborhood’ – affectionately called mutt.
The German Shepherd follows close behind the Golden, with the Chihuahua hot on his heels. While we see the generic “Terrier” with 38 answers, you should know that there are a number of specific terrier breeds that appear in the list. Pit bulls do well, and the Staffordshire bull terrier is just retiring at 28.
A total of 120 different breeds have been mentioned, some of which – Shiba Inu, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Plott, Mountain Cur and Blue Heeler – may not be as popularly known.
Each year, the Social Security Administration publishes a list of the top names for boys and girls born in the previous year. I have always enjoyed watching these lists and have been fascinated by these names that rise and fall in popularity from year to year. In addition, I’ve found the different spellings of similar-sounding names to be a never-ending source of amusement. Listing Ferndale dog names (as I’ve come to expect for other communities) has brought me almost as much joy.
I have to say that Ferndale dog owners have some unique and wonderful names such as Butterbeer, D’Artagnan, Drizzy, Fatty, Gin Gimlet, Hugo Frankenstein, Mr Chunks and Sir Frances Maple Bacon. However, I decided to give you the 8 names that came up 10 or more times. (See Figure 2)
Cheers to the 16 Charlies, 13 Zoeys and a dozen each of the Buddies and Bellas out there.
The next article is about the Dogs of Holly, all other communities will follow in the coming weeks. If you have a specific community of interest please let me know. Join the conversation on the Oakland County Times Facebook page and share your pup’s picture. And don’t forget to get your pet’s vaccinations and driver’s license, which can be done through the Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center.
For more stories about population shifts, turnout and other election trends, and other interesting numbers, visit the Oakland County Times Data-Based Stories Archives. Thanks to data expert Kurt Metzger for this work!